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Great potential to improve collection, recycling of Europe's electronic waste, says UN report
Date:11/15/2007

s the environment to different degrees in terms of reducing toxic pollution, conserving natural resources, reducing energy consumption and preventing emissions that cause global warming and ozone layer depletion. We therefore recommend differentiated collection targets for different e-waste categories.

For instance, the top environmental priority is to gain control over the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in old refrigerators, says Dr. Huisman, who also conducted the environmental evaluation for the study. By increasing the reported EU27 collection rate from the 27% achieved in 2005 to the suggested 75% by 2011, a major reduction of chemicals destroying the ozone layer would be achieved but also, because CFCs are a powerful greenhouse gas, it would save the equivalent of roughly 34 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere."

Improving e-waste collection is also key to preventing toxic pollution. An estimated 4.3 tonnes of mercury was contained in the estimated 660 million energy saving light bulbs sold in the EU27 in 2006, with approximately 2.8 tonnes more contained in LCD panels. Consumers need to help control this toxic danger by getting discarded waste to qualified recyclers for proper treatment, says Dr. Huisman.

The study says e-waste firms and other stakeholders see a clear need for consistency across the EU in legislative requirements for registering, reporting and other activities, and greater stakeholder awareness of specific responsibilities. A large number of small and medium-sized enterprises were unaware of their legal obligations.

Our study shows a total financial burden across EU27 of registering and reporting activities of around EUR 40 million, using a baseline assumption of eight hours needed per report, says Federico Magalini of UNU, responsible for the economic evaluation. However, the financial concern is less of an issue than the hassle for companies active in all EU member states of having to file
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
United Nations University
Source:Eurekalert

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